South-East Europe has experienced a significant number of severe meteorological and hydrological events in recent years. Heavy precipitation has caused floods and landslides. Droughts have increased the incidence of forest fires. People have suffered under prolonged heat and cold waves. There have been severe thunderstorms and hailstorms. These natural hazards have had significant impacts: human lives have been lost, property and infrastructure damaged, and the functioning of key sectors impaired. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that there will be a marked increase in the frequency of weather and climate extremes in the future, particularly of heat waves, droughts and heavy precipitation. This will, in turn, increase demand for improved early warning for communities under threat from such natural hazard as well as a need for more preparedness in those communities in order to improve their resilience. WMO initiated the "South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System (SEE-MHEWS-A)" project in 2016 to assist Members in the region to achieve these objectives. The project builds on the outcomes of several recent projects in the region related to disaster risk reduction that were implemented with funding from the European Union, United Nation agencies, the World Bank and a number of other international and national organizations.
The previous projects demonstrated that there is a need to strengthen regional cooperation in order to address gaps in forecasting and warning provision at the national and regional levels, particularly in transboundary areas. To achieve this, the development of a regional multi-hazard early warning advisory system (MHEWS-A) – consisting of information and tools for forecasters at National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and harmonized national early warning systems – is essential. The development of the SEE-MHEWS-A will support the NMHSs in fulfilling their mandate to provide timely and accurate warnings in order to minimize the impacts on people, infrastructure and industry of hazardous weather events and to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people.
SEE-MHEWS-A will provide operational forecasters with effective and tested tools for forecasting hazardous weather events and their possible impacts in order to improve the accuracy of warnings and their relevance to stakeholders and users. On a single virtual platform, the system will collect existing information, products and tools for the provision of accurate forecasts and warnings to support hazard-related decision-making by national authorities. Furthermore, the system will function as a cooperative platform where forecasters from different countries can work together on the identification of potential hazards and their impacts, especially when impending weather hazards may have potential impacts in many countries.
The overall objectives of the SEE-MHEWS-A project are:
- Strengthened regional cooperation through leveraging of national, regional and global capacities to develop improved hydrometeorological forecasts, advisories and warnings, which will contribute to saving lives and reducing economic losses and damage
- Strengthened national MHEWS systems by making regional and sub-regional observing, monitoring and forecasting tools and data available to the participating countries and other beneficiaries
- To implement impact-based forecasts and risk-based warning capacities that contribute to better informed decision-making by national governments, disaster management authorities, humanitarian agencies, and NGOs
- Harmonized forecasts and warnings among the NMHSs especially in transboundary areas of the region
- Increased operational forecasting capabilities of NMHSs staff
Implementation of Phase I, which is funded by USAID, will take place from 2016-2017. In the first year, the commitment of key stakeholders will be established and a comprehensive implementation plan developed. The implementation plan will include:
- Definition of the scope, technical and resources requirements for the development
- Precise definition of the geographical coverage of the system and contributing partner agencies
- Location and requirements of the virtual platform and the tools to include
- Identification of implementation mechanisms
- Assessment of training needs related to hazard forecasting and provision of warnings
- Identification of agreements required at the national and regional levels to enable the development and operative functioning of the system
- A gap analysis of the observations network within the defined area
The owners of the SEE-MHEWS-A will be the participating NMHSs from South-East Europe, who will be encouraged to work with their respective national disaster risk management agencies (DRM) to ensure that warning and advisory products meet their needs for decision-making. Success will depend on the commitment of these authorities to the development of the SEE-MHEWS-A and on their political will to improve collaboration at the regional level and between and among national authorities. The priorities for the SEE-MHEWS-A project are to improve warning accuracy, their relevance to decision-making and their dissemination. Regional cooperation will be advocated during the project implementation to ensure the commitment of all stakeholders to the project achievements during and after the project implementation.
SEE-MHEWS-A Meeting Calendar
|4-6 Apr 2017||
Workshop on ICT technologies and observational requirements for SEE-MHEWS-A System
|8-9 Mar 2017||
7-9 Feb 2017
Skopje, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
|5-7 Oct 2016||
Joint meetings with the Informal Conference of SEE NMHS Directors (ICSEED, 6–7 October)